The isle of Capri has had a fascinating past. Most recently in the 50s and 60s it was the haunt of the rich and famous who paraded their bronzed tans and good looks in the tiny streets of this gorgeous small island which is just off the coast of Naples on the Amalfi coast. It was the place to see, and definitely the place to be seen – expensive, exclusive and just the type of hideout needed for a famous movie star to rest and let their hair down for a few weeks between movies. Names like Kirk Douglas, Jackie Kennedy, Lana Turner, Liz Taylor and Greta Garbo were well known to the residents and restaurant owners.
It was not such a happy place 2,000 years ago when the island had another famous resident – one that not only struck fear and loathing into the heart of the residents but as a resident, you would hope never to catch his attention. Tiberius, emperor of Rome ruled from this remote island for more than a decade as he was paranoid of assassination attempts on his life. This was the original pleasure palace where debauchery, sexual proclivities and bloodlust were enjoyed and inflicted.
Don’t let the island’s gruesome history, or the fact that you can pay up to 5 euro for a cup of coffee, deter you from making a trip to this most stunning island. If you can’t afford to stay on the island for a few days, it makes an easy day trip from any town on the Amalfi coast. It takes around 30 – 40 minutes to travel from Positano to the island depending on which ferry you are lucky enough to snag and be aware there is a fast boat and obviously this is the one you should try to catch. While on the island you have the choice of strolling along the shopping boulevards which accommodate every designer shop you can imagine or take a stroll along via Tragara to the other side of the island and discover Faraglioni rocks and be rewarded with wonderful views. What a fabulous way to spend a day on the Amalfi coast.
So what is the best path for a leisurely stroll?
After you leave the ferry, follow the crowds and buy a ticket to the funicular (ticket office on the right of the funicular). Take the short ride up to the town of Capri and walk through Piazza Umberto. Unless your wallet is unbearably heavy, walk on. This tiny but character filled square is exclusive and very costly so if you’re hungry or thirsty there are places down the track more suitable.
Walk through the square, toward Tod’s shop, take one of the streets leading off from this to the right – doesn’t matter which one as they end up together further down the track together. Follow it down past the shopper’s paradise of blingy sandals and swimwear cover-ups to the street (Via Camerelle) and another short stroll through coffee shops, Pucci, Prada, Gucci and a lovely perfume shop.
Carthusia, the scent of Capri, stop by and sample wonderful smells.
Continue on to find Via Tragara. This is the path that takes you past the once luxurious private villas that are now 5 star hotels, definitely rich and famous prices. As they are so close to the path, you can peer in and wonder what it would be like to have your aperitivo sitting on the terrace of your fabulous hotel wearing your Prada shoes bought just that morning and pondering which restaurant you will grace with your presence in the evening. Oh to dream!
Can you tear yourself away from window shopping? As if you do, you will be rewarded with amazing views very soon.
My favourite photo of Capri – it doesn’t matter which part of the day you arrive at this spot the resulting photo is always great.
When you tire of looking and dreaming at the villas and restaurants along the way, keep strolling until you can see the lookout for the rocks.
But just before you arrive there you might hear the lovely tones of a song from a stall holder, selling her wares of delicious lemon granita – just the reward you need for taking some exercise. What a canny saleswomen she is. Her singing grows louder and more sweet the closer the clients are to the shop. Spend a couple of minutes, enjoy a delicious lemon granita and learn what it is to be a great saleswoman.
With granita in had, keep on walking until you reach the lookout. Here you will find the very luxurious 5 star Tragara Hotel on the left (more dreaming) but you are finally rewarded for your exercise with the spectacular view of the Faraglioni Rocks – the symbol of the Isle of Capri. Take a bench seat, they are strategically placed around the lookout area, and marvel at the glorious coastal views here.
If you look over the rail, this is what you will see.
And when you look out to sea you will view the icon of Capri, the Faraglioni rocks. Definitely a lovely way to spend a few hours on the Isle of Capri.